The December holidays are around the corner and whilst they herald weeks of freedom for school kids, many parents and caregivers don’t share quite the same levels of enthusiasm and excitement!
Keeping children occupied during the long school holidays can be a challenge, but anyone wanting to instil a ‘culture of culture’ whilst having fun AND keep the kids occupied for hours should explore these top cultural places to visit in Perth.
1. Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison is the largest and most intact convict-built prison in Australia and is Western Australia’s only World Heritage Listed Building. Choose from a range of entertaining tours conducted by experienced tour guides who bring the rich folklore and stories of the prison to life, including the Ghostly Tram Tour, the eerie night-time torchlight tour and the extreme heritage tunnel adventure tour.
1 The Terrace, Fremantle 08 9461 3403
2. King’s Park and Botanic Garden
Rated the top attraction in Perth and one of the top four things to do in the whole of Australia by TripAdvisor, King’s Park offers much, much more than spectacular views and acres of manicured lawns and indigenous bush. Kids will love learning about the area’s deep and important connection to the Nyoongar community through the many activities, tours and education programmes on offer at this famous World Heritage site. There’s an indigenous heritage tour where kids can discover more about unique WA plants that are useful for bush food and medicine and hear an Aboriginal guide tell the Ancient Dreamtime story, the Boodja Gnaring Walk which explores the Nyoongar use of the land as well as an Aboriginal Art Gallery for inspiring creative young minds.
Fraser Ave, West Perth 08 9480 3600
3. His Majesty’s Theatre
Theatre may not sound like much fun for kids – but wait until they hear about the behind-the-scenes tour at one of Perth’s most loved heritage icons. They’ll be fascinated by the impressive domed roof (particularly when they learn that in the ‘olden days’ before air-conditioners, it used to slide open on Perth’s hot summer nights to improve ventilation), the backstage area and the memorabilia exhibition and who knows, a visit to the ‘Maj’ may just fire up their artistic ambitions!
825 Hay St, Perth 08 9265 0900
4. City of Perth Library
Whoever said books were on the decline hasn’t seen the amazing new City of Perth Library. This seven-level building is a perfect cultural outing for the school holidays with its spectacular views, storey-telling zones, history centre, green wall, free WI-FI, public-use computers and gaming centre on the Young Adult level and of course, thousands of awesome books. Kids even get unwittingly introduced to the work of Shakespeare through a massive artwork which hangs from the ceiling of the circular structure which relates to the ending of his play, The Tempest, but with a WA twist of course!
573 Hay St, Perth 08 9461 3500
5. Shipwreck Galleries
Recognised as the foremost maritime archaeology museum, the Western Australian Museum — Shipwreck Galleries offers all sorts of historic treasures and artefacts for kids to explore and discover. They’ll learn about WA’s history through the fascinating collection of relics from shipwrecks along our treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from the Batavia (wrecked in 1629) and the famous de Vlamingh pewter plate which was left by Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog in 1616. Hartog made one of the first recorded landfalls by a European on the West Australian coastline and given that 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of this important arrival, a visit to this fascinating museum would be a fitting cultural excursion during the school holidays.
Cliff Street, Fremantle 1300 134 081
6. City Art Walk
Need to keep kids occupied and expending energy for a few hours? Perth’s public art walk is a fascinating way of teaching them about Perth’s cultural heritage. At the Swan Bell Tower 60 000 mosaic tiles represent each region’s culture, community and lifestyle at the turn of the century. Visit the lifesize Kangaroo Sculptures at Stirling Gardens or the Charnock Woman mosaic in Victoria Gardens which recounts Bibbulmun dreamtime story. Well worth a look also is the Regeneration Relief mural which gives a visual history of Claisebrook in East Perth. There are many fascinating public artworks to explore and discover to enrich their understanding of life in Perth.
Art City Public Walk 08 9461 3403
The Swan Bell Tower
Several of these artworks are situated at the Swan Bell Tower which is another of the top Perth attractions for a cultural outing with the kids during the holidays. Boasting a unique and distinctive design and filled with fascinating historic content including 12 huge bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and the ‘It’s about Time’ display which contains a fascinating array of precision timepieces, bells and optical instruments that demonstrate how time was kept before the world went digital.
Barrack Square, Riverside Drive 08 6210 0444 www.thebelltower.com.au